With supplies straight from the Great Outdoors, such as beeswax and pinecones, you can create this handy fire starter.
Credit: Rob Tannenbaum

As the seasons change, particularly to the colder seasons, the perfect activities include drinking warm cups of Spiced Apple Cider or Hot Chocolate and taking in the beauty of the outdoors. Another seasonal idea is gathering around a fire in your fireplace. You can get a cozy—and colorful—fire started using homemade waxed pinecones with this easy how-to. The coolest part? You can customize the color of your flame depending on the type of salt you use.

What you need


  • White beeswax
  • Double boiler
  • Wire
  • Dry pinecones
  • Drying rack
  • Salt of choice (Epsom salts, table salt, or salt substitute)
  • Raffia

How to do it


Melt wax in a double boiler to between 150 and 175 degrees.


Hook a length of wire onto top of pinecone and, holding wire, carefully dip pinecone into hot wax.


Set pinecone on drying rack and allow to cool for a few minutes.


Dip pinecone into wax again and immediately coat with salt. Depending on the salt used, the flames of the starters will burn a certain color. (Epsom salts create a white flame; table salt creates a yellow flame; salt substitute creates a violet flame.)


String five pinecones together with raffia.


To light a fire, place string of pinecones on top of newspaper in the fireplace before lighting. Once lit, starters will burn slowly (in desired color) to guarantee that logs light.

Comments (3)

Martha Stewart Member
January 3, 2012
Actually I am looking for the garden in bowl shown today by Stephen Orr. I looked all over your website. I don't know how to find it.
Martha Stewart Member
January 3, 2012
Where do you buy beeswax?
Martha Stewart Member
November 9, 2011
I have an abundance of pine cones and would like to make this craft. During the segment, they just used Epsom salt. However, in the printed directions, it is mentioned that "salt subsitute" would have a violet flame. I'd like to make that one, but what is the salt substitute???? Is it Mrs. Dash? Can someone tell me? Thank you. Toni